A 12-man strong Barbados rugby team leaves the island for Hong Kong tomorrow, brimful of confidence that they can perform well at the 2014 International Rugby Board’s Rugby Sevens World Series.
Director for the team, Joe Whipple, told a media briefing today at the Timothy Olton Complex, Cane Garden, St Thomas, that the players had been working extremely hard and had what it took to come up against the likes of Russia, Zimbabwe and Chile and perform well. Out of 25 players in training, the squad was trimmed to 12 for the March 28 to 30.
Whipple said: “The boys have been working really hard. The competition is high and there are good sides that we definitely want to be competitive with.
“We started the sevens programme two years ago and to date our fitness levels have just gone through the roof and now we are really at a good fitness level and clearly this was not the case two years ago. And secondly we generally have the speed to play the game and the side that we are taking to Hong Kong would be as good as any side we have taken before.”
The squad, including United Kingdom-based and Barbados-based players, will assemble at Loughborough University in the East Midlands for a week-long training camp before embarking on the Hong Kong tournament.
According to the director for the men’s sevens team, Barbados have a diverse range of experienced players: “We are very close to making some nice steps and some of us are there and then some are just an inch below it.
“However, it’s just for us to get those guys overseas playing a lot of tournaments,” Whipple said.
Team captain Sean Ward quipped that being ready was an understatement because rugby was a part of his life and the guys in the squad were an unbreakable unit that would be looking to put their best foot forward.
Two years ago, the Barbados rugby team were ranked 15th in the Caribbean and now they are ranked second in the region.